Predator ripped hole in hardware cloth and is making a nest?

Bobbyee Johanna

In the Brooder
Aug 1, 2020
19
37
33
I lost one chicken and one guinea last night sometime. Heads ripped off. Husband went to check and refill water container this morning and found them. Only the heads were gone. There was a 3” hole made in the hardware cloth by predator. The 3 gal heated water bucket has been either completely empty or knocked over almost every day for the last 2weeks (odd bc they have never knocked it over before and never drank 3 gal of water in a 12 hour span)
There is a straw bale on the nesting box side of the coop and the chickens can’t get under the nesting boxes. Upon inspection, it looks like something was in the area under the nesting boxes pulling the straw through the hardware cloth and making a “home”.
The coop is built inside a camp. Last summer we had 3/4 chickens killed by a raccoon that pried open a window in the camp and got inside. We have since built a second floor inside the coop and bought hardware cloth to cover every inch of walls to the coop. We also inspected the camp and covered all gaps. Husband could not find any entry point. The windows have sticks holding them shut so they cannot be opened. Usually a coon will leave droppings and we found none.
I live in Nova Scotia, Canada and we have coons, foxes (there is a den across the street from me and my neighbour frequently goes over and feeds them 🤬), coyotes, rats, hawks, and eagles. I am unsure if we have weasels but I am leaning towards thinking it is something like a weasel or a rat. I’ve never seen one, but last summer my neighbour told me to watch the dogs around our shared property line because they had rats living there and had put poison out for them. Again 🤬.
My neighbours yard is very unsightly, hence the rats - I could make a whole post about this - so there are old vehicles that coons will live in and they often feed the wildlife. I’ve called the city on them since last August and nothing has really been cleaned. I will be very angry if I find out it’s a rat that has rehomed in my coop.
I am confused as to what could rip a hole in hardware cloth though? It is plastic, not metal hardware cloth. It was all there was at the time I built the coop and I’ve not had any issues with it since August. And if the predator was in the coop the whole time, making a nest for itself and able to get in and eat the food and water, why all of a sudden rip through the hardware cloth and kill??
 

svh

Crowing
Dec 24, 2019
412
2,091
266
Mid Missouri
I am confused as to what could rip a hole in hardware cloth though? It is plastic, not metal hardware cloth. It was all there was at the time I built the coop and I’ve not had any issues with it since August. And if the predator was in the coop the whole time, making a nest for itself and able to get in and eat the food and water, why all of a sudden rip through the hardware cloth and kill??

This is your problem !!! Critters have no problem at all getting through plastic fence.
 

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Nov 12, 2017
5,606
15,256
797
Western Ohio
Sorry about the loss of your chicken and guinea!

Plastic can easily be chewed through by most anything, so metal HWC is what needs to be used. I have heard others on BYC indicate that the thinner gauge 1/4” HWC can be chewed through or breached by some animals, but I do not know this for sure. But, 1/4” will exclude pretty much everything. But, 1/2” should be a thicker gauge, so more durable, and will exclude pretty much everything except juvenile mice ...not sure about juvenile rats.

weasels can cause a lot of damage too. Do you have those in the area?
 

Bobbyee Johanna

In the Brooder
Aug 1, 2020
19
37
33
Yes I think we will buy metal hardware cloth today and fix it all up. It’s so sad.
We do have weasels, mink, and martens. I’ve never seen any, but I do live in a rural area with hundreds of acres of woods around my house. So it’s very possible.
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
13 Years
Nov 18, 2007
25,620
17,700
771
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
My suggestion is if you have a game camera put it up and then you will know for sure what you're dealing with. I have several cameras and see predators roaming here mostly at night. We are rural too. Good luck...
 

50-45-1

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Feb 25, 2008
2,464
7,827
586
Northern Michigan (tip of the little finger area)
My Coop
My Coop
Broke their necks but did not eat anything.
That sounds like classic weasel kill.
Also, everybody has raccoon problems, even if the neighbors keep pristine property.
Sorry about your chickens.
You must build a better coop. The coop I have today is the result of many years of preditors showing me my mistakes.
Everything eats chicken.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom